June 20, 2010

Book Review - Death Blows by D. D. Barrant

Another book review by Sara ---

Woo hoo - I wrote another review. Yeah me.

My newest plan has been to change up what I've been reading to see if that will help me be more interested. So, I swapped over and read a space opera. Nope, no success there as the characters just didn't work for me. I zipped through one of the recent 39 Clues books. It was fine but not too exciting. Then I gave up and went back to my normal stomping ground - urban fantasy. I just finished Death Blows by D. D. Barrant, the second book in The Bloodhound Files following Dying Bites (The third book titled Killing Rocks should be out 12/28/10). Set in an alternative universe where vamps, weres, golems, and the few remaining humans live somewhat peacefully, Jace Valchek-former profiler for FBI in the world we know-continues to try and catch the crazed killer (get this - a NEW phenomena in this world) from book one and gets sucked into solving another crime along the way. The new crime involves comic books, super heroes and villains, and a closer look into some more political issues, including the status of golems.

Now for the shocker. . . I like this book for something other than the characters. I desperately wanted to figure out why the crimes are happening. This is helped substantially because the plot moves right along. Things happen at a good enough pace that I'm not skimming through pages trying to find more about the crime. Also, I think the author gives you just enough information about the subject. While I am not a huge comic book fan, there was enough explanation that I didn't get lost while working my way through Death Blows. It was a very good premise for the story and held up well in the execution. I am also a fan of some of the visuals in the writing. Some scenes were so vivid and hysterical. There is a scene with Charlie and his hat at the end of the book that caused me to laugh out loud. Sometimes I still picture it just for a small giggle.

So, you knew I had to get to the characters sooner or later, and here it is. I would say the characters are a mixed bag. You know a lot about Jace, Charlie, and Dr. Pete. There are interactions which strengthened the understanding of Jace's relationships with them. However, you only get spurts of interaction with Gretchen, Cassius, Alexandra, and Eisfanger. What you get makes it feel more like a need to keep the number of permanent characters the same rather than adding anything to the story. Strangely, it appears Cassius is supposed to be the long term love interest but I find him unappealing. I am confused why Jace bothers with him, and this makes their interactions feel forced. So while I love the action and the mystery, I give a hearty "eh" to the characters.

So, here's what I have to say: read the first book, Dying Bites. If you like, be prepared to feel not as fond of the second one and do like the rest of us reading this series-wait for book number three to make your final call. If the characterization catches up with the actions, book three is going to rock. (come on, you knew I had to--didn't you)

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